On the 10th day of May in the year 2017, we will celebrate National School Nurse Day -- a day we designate to celebrate school nurses, the “boots on the ground” in our schools, working to improve the health and learning of students. School nurses are heroes to the more than 50 million children in our nation’s schools, and it is highly likely that more people interact with a school nurse than any other nursing specialist.
I spoke to one nurse recently who had a particularly trying day. Her office is always busy because she is a trusted figure in the school. A student was brought to her office because he kept falling asleep in class. The teacher reported that the student’s mom couldn’t pick him up from school this day because she couldn’t leave work. This busy school nurse, following the standards of care, began her assessment the minute the student came through her door. Because she was having trouble getting a good blood pressure reading, in her calm manner, she prompted the student to talk about why he was so tired. The story slowly poured out. The student had taken an overdose of pills. A medical emergency was developing as the morning unfolded and 911 was activated and crisis mental health was notified. The student received the care and emergency treatment needed. Upon reflection, the school nurse welled up with tears, “I’m just glad I was here to listen to his story. Can you imagine if he had gone home?”
SCHOOL NURSES SAVE LIVES!
The statement sounds dramatic; but, when you hear story after story such as the one just shared, we know it’s true. School Nurse Day is a day for you to reflect on your practice. Remember the many times when you made a difference in the life of a child; now, multiply that number by 10,000. The number could be multiplied by 100,000 or more, depending on your years as a school nurse. These are the lives you have touched, the daily events which you may not always know how your actions influenced the outcome. Of course, we remember the obvious interactions, but there are so many more actions that prevent an emergency; that clear the way for a family to access needed services; and that remind children they are special, unique and worthy of attention.
Created for school nurses by students of Mr. Milton Downing, art teacher in the Brandywine School District, Hanby Elementary School, Delaware.
Thank you for all that you do and allow this day, School Nurse Day, to shine a very bright light on what you do every day for a better tomorrow. You care for children! You are a school nurse.
With admiration and respect,
Beth Mattey, MSN, RN, NCSN
National Association of School Nurses